Catalogue entry

T03457 TUNDRA 1975

Steel 105 × 228 × 52 (2720 × 5790 × 1320)
Not inscribed
Purchased from T.M. and P.M. Caro (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Exh: Aspects of British Art Today, British Council tour of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, February–April 1982, Tochigi Prejectural Museum of Fine Arts, April–May 1982, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, June–July 1982, Fukuoaka Art Museum, August 1982, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, September–October 1982 (4, repr. in colour)
Repr: Dieter Blume, Anthony Caro, Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. III, Galerie Wentzel, Cologne (1114); Diane Waldman, Anthony Caro, 1982, pl.170 (colour)

In 1972 Caro found a supply of soft ends of steel rollings in a scrapyard in Milan and the discovery of this material led to his Veduggio series of sculptures. In 1973, in Britain, he discovered similar ends of soft-edged rolled steel at the steel mills of Consett in County Durham. ‘Tundra’ is a work made of steel from Consett. The artist wrote to the compiler about the metal, ‘when steel is rolled it sometimes doesn't come out flat and we bought about 11 tons of these “cobbles” which are the pieces in the rolling system which get twisted and are normally thrown away’ (letter to the compiler, 25 March 1986). T03457 was made in the artist's studio in Camden Town. The rusted steel surfaces of ‘Tundra’ have been treated with paint and wax applications. The artist writes, ‘it is a surface finish that I liked very much and I regard as an important integral part of the work. It is definitely an indoor piece, particularly because of its surface finish. But also because its scale, though large, is more in keeping with internal contained space’ (letter of 24 June 1986).

The compiler asked the artist if ‘Tundra’, as a work, stood alone or was part of a series: ‘The piece is not completely on its own without similar pieces. There is a sculpture called ‘Monsoon Drift’ [1975], which is in the Hirshhorn Museum Collection [Washington] and ‘Footprint’ [1975], all of which have a feel of a screen, albeit a soft one. They are also closely related to the York series which I made earlier in Toronto [1974].’

‘Tundra’ is one of the artist's ‘largest pieces with a solid appearance’.

T03455 and T03457 have been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986